5,099 research outputs found

    Observational Constraints From Binary Stars on Stellar Evolution Models

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    Accurate determinations of masses and radii in binary stars, along with estimates of the effective temperatures, metallicities, and other properties, have long been used to test models of stellar evolution. As might be expected, observational constraints are plentiful for main-sequence stars, although some problems with theory remain even in this regime. Models in other areas of the H-R diagram are considerably less well constrained, or not constrained at all. I summarize the status of the field, and provide examples of how accurate measurements can supply stringent tests of stellar theory, including aspects such as the treatment of convection. I call attention to the apparent failure of current models to match the properties of stars with masses of 1.1-1.7 MSun that are near the point of central hydrogen exhaustion, possibly connected with the simplified treatment of convective core overshooting.Comment: 8 pages including figures and tables. To appear in the Proceedings of Setting a New Standard in the Analysis of Binary Stars, eds. K. Pavlovski, A. Tkachenko and G. Torres, EAS Publication Serie

    The dependence of convective core overshooting on stellar mass: reality check, and additional evidence

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    Overshooting from the convective cores of stars more massive than about 1.2 M(Sun) has a profound impact on their subsequent evolution. And yet, the formulation of the overshooting mechanism in current stellar evolution models has a free parameter (f[ov] in the diffusive approximation) that remains poorly constrained by observations, affecting the determination of astrophysically important quantities such as stellar ages. In an earlier series of papers we assembled a sample of 37 well-measured detached eclipsing binaries to calibrate the dependence of f[ov] on stellar mass, showing that it increases sharply up to a mass of roughly 2 M(Sun), and remains constant thereafter out to at least 4.4 M(Sun). Recent claims have challenged the utility of eclipsing binaries for this purpose, on the basis that the uncertainties in f[ov] from the model fits are typically too large to be useful, casting doubt on a dependence of overshooting on mass. Here we reexamine those claims and show them to be too pessimistic, mainly because they did not account for all available constraints --- both observational and theoretical --- in assessing the true uncertainties. We also take the opportunity to add semi-empirical f[ov] determinations for 13 additional binaries to our previous sample, and to update the values for 9 others. All are consistent with, and strengthen our previous conclusions, supporting a dependence of f[ov] on mass that is now based on estimates for a total of 50 binary systems (100 stars).Comment: 14 pages in emulateapj format, including figures and tables. Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal. One duplicate object has been removed, and the tables and one figure have been update

    Modeling Kepler Transit Light Curves as False Positives: Rejection of Blend Scenarios for Kepler-9, and Validation of Kepler-9 d, A Super-earth-size Planet in a Multiple System

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    Light curves from the Kepler Mission contain valuable information on the nature of the phenomena producing the transit-like signals. To assist in exploring the possibility that they are due to an astrophysical false positive, we describe a procedure (BLENDER) to model the photometry in terms of a "blend" rather than a planet orbiting a star. A blend may consist of a background or foreground eclipsing binary (or star-planet pair) whose eclipses are attenuated by the light of the candidate and possibly other stars within the photometric aperture. We apply BLENDER to the case of Kepler-9 (KIC 3323887), a target harboring two previously confirmed Saturn-size planets (Kepler-9 b and Kepler-9 c) showing transit timing variations, and an additional shallower signal with a 1.59 day period suggesting the presence of a super-Earth-size planet. Using BLENDER together with constraints from other follow-up observations we are able to rule out all blends for the two deeper signals and provide independent validation of their planetary nature. For the shallower signal, we rule out a large fraction of the false positives that might mimic the transits. The false alarm rate for remaining blends depends in part (and inversely) on the unknown frequency of small-size planets. Based on several realistic estimates of this frequency, we conclude with very high confidence that this small signal is due to a super-Earth-size planet (Kepler-9 d) in a multiple system, rather than a false positive. The radius is determined to be 1.64^(+0.19)_(–0.14) R_⊕, and current spectroscopic observations are as yet insufficient to establish its mass
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